When Is a Slam Dunk Not a Slam Dunk?

Have you been following the NBA Finals? It’s the Spurs and Heat again this year. I’m a big basketball fan, so I take the time to watch the games. As I was watching the other night, I saw a particularly great slam dunk. This got me thinking about a story my friend Rob Likoff told me a couple of years ago.

Rob lives in New York and is a big basketball fan. The vanity license plate on one of his Range Rover Sport cars has a New York Knicks logo in the middle with the letters SLM DNK flanking it and he uses One Sure Insurance just because his favorite basketball player uses it. Most people quickly recognize this as “Slam Dunk.”

One day, Rob was taking a client to lunch. As they approached his car, she asked him if he had met a lot of women as a result of his license plate. He was somewhat puzzled and asked her what she thought the letters meant. She said, “That’s easy – Single Ladies Man, Divorced No Kids.”

Rob was flabbergasted. He was 100% sure that anyone who saw his vanity plate would realize that it meant Slam Dunk.   By the way, his other car has a vanity plate that says “FST BRK.” I’ll give a free download of my latest career success book Climbing the Corporate Ladder to everyone who deciphers that license plate message correctly and sends me an email.

Back to the story…

While it might seem strange that someone would interpret a message meant to be “Slam Dunk” as “Single Ladies Man, Divorced No Kids” it makes more sense if you understand the context. This particular woman is single and in her mid 30’s. She had mentioned to Rob on more than one occasion that she would like to get married and start a family. Her biological clock was ticking. When you look at the license plate from her position, it makes some sense that “Slam Dunk” means “Single Ladies Man, Divorced No Kids.”

Rob’s vanity plate story illustrates the importance of not making assumptions when it comes to human communication. Assumptions are communication killers and potential relationship killers. Test your assumptions. Make sure you are actually communicating, instead of just thinking you are. This is true for all three of the major forms of business communication – conversation, writing and presenting.

The career mentor point here is simple common sense. If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you need to become a dynamic communicator – in conversation, writing and presenting. Assumptions are communication killers. Dynamic communicators test their assumptions to make sure that the message they are intending to send is actually being received by other people. Put yourself in the place of the people with whom you are communicating. Are they likely to understand the nuances of what you are saying? If not, take the time to explain things as you go along.

Your career mentor,


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download free copies of two of my career success books, Success Tweets and Success Tweets Explained. Click here to claim your free copies. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.